Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Provost selects three to help mold academic vision

Phil Hanlon, in one of his first acts as provost on July 1, tapped three faculty leaders to spend the next year helping him mold the strategic vision that will position U-M’s academic enterprise to achieve continued excellence in the decades to come.

Under Hanlon’s leadership, W. W. Bishop Professor of Information John King will focus on major issues and directions in higher education; Stephen M. Ross School of Business Dean Bob Dolan will assist the Office of the Provost office in developing a strategic vision; and Medical School Professor Lewis Morgenstern will study best practices at top-ranked peer universities.

“This university is working at the cutting edge, where it always has to be,” Hanlon says. “My goal and the mission for these academic leaders and my term as provost is to envision what the University of Michigan will need to be in the next 20 to 25 years to build on its station as a global leader of higher education and to chart our own course for world-class leadership in research and education.”

Hanlon and his top advisers already are examining expanded options for global engagement and other priorities that define the university.

“In the next 25 years, very powerful forces are going to be driving higher education in this country,” Hanlon says. “I’ve selected leaders who are particularly versed in the changing landscape of global higher education and action-based learning to construct the framework for continued excellence at the University of Michigan over the coming decades.”

For the next 12 months, King, as vice provost for strategy, will dedicate the majority of his effort to academic strategic planning with a focus on major issues and directions within higher education over the next decade.

Morgenstern, who holds faculty appointments in the Medical School and School of Public Health, has returned to the provost’s office on a half-time basis as special counselor to the provost on strategy to prepare a report that analyzes priorities and important innovations at the top-ranked universities with which U-M competes. The work coincides with projects he engaged in during the past year, when he spent a sabbatical leave in the offices of the chief financial officer and the provost, and will be used as a learning tool in the university’s strategic planning.

Dolan, newly appointed as special counselor to the provost, will lead a planning exercise with the goal of developing a strategic vision for the university. Dolan already has met with deans on the project and will assist the Academic Program Group in developing a strategic vision for the university. The Academic Program Group, which consists of the university’s deans and some directors, will develop a draft version of a strategic vision that will then be used to gather input from the broader campus community.

As the academic year shifts into high gear, they will incorporate the input of the greater university community to build consensus and set a roadmap.

“You cannot follow your way to glory,” King says. “We can and will learn from what others have done, and then we will forge our own path.”

Dolan, who defined the brand of the Ross School as a leader in action-based learning, is focusing on assessing the key university strengths, how those can best be capitalized upon in the future and new capabilities that the university should focus on developing.